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€300m ‘umbrella’ for Austrian promoters

In what is believed to be a world first, the Austrian government has announced it will cover the cost if an event is cancelled due to a change in Covid-19 restrictions

By IQ on 27 Oct 2020

Austrian tourism minister Elisabeth Köstinger

image © BMF/Wilke

The Austrian federal government has announced a €300 million ‘protective umbrella’ to provide certainty for promoters of concerts, trade shows and other live events.

The new funding is designed to remove the risk for event organisers, to allow them to carry on business as usual: If shows organised during the current level of restrictions (at the time of writing, a limit of 1,000 people seated indoors or 1,500 outdoors) are cancelled due to new rules, the government will bear the costs of the cancellation.

The same goes for any reduction in capacity limits, and includes costs such as hotel rooms, crew wages and event technology. Smaller concerts and shows organised under the current rules should be able to benefit from the ‘umbrella’, according to German publication Backstage Pro, which is calling for similar measures in Germany.

Companies based in other countries but which organise events in Austria are also able to benefit from the funding.

“For the first time, the Austrian event industry […] sees a small ray of hope at the end of the tunnel,” comments Erik Kastner of industry association Austria Event Pool (AEP). “Austria is now the only country in which the government pays the upfront costs if an event is cancelled because of the coronavirus measures.”

“This ‘protective screen’ is the most important measure for the event industry”

Herwig Straka, board member of another association, Emba, similarly welcomes the funding. “In my opinion, the ‘protective screen’ is the most important measure for the event industry,” he says, adding that it “creates the certainty that is so important for this industry to be able to restart its engine.”

“Now, we can resume providing live experiences while protecting our industry’s jobs,” Straka explains.

While the programme has yet to be approved at a European level (which might prove less than straightforward, given the recent controversy around the ‘fixed-cost subsidy’ for businesses), Austrian tourism minister Elisabeth Köstinger (pictured) is confident it will be able to come into force at the beginning of November.

“Even if the details of this fund still have to be worked out, it holds the prospect of a restart for our heavily affected industry,” adds Gerhard Stübe, managing director of the Austrian Convention Bureau.


This article forms part of IQ’s Covid-19 resource centre – a knowledge hub of essential guidance and updating resources for uncertain times.

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